The first volume of this three-part autobiographical series begins in 1938 with the expulsion of the Kovačič family from their home in Switzerland, eventually leading to their settlement in the father’s home country of Slovenia. Before leaving their home, the ten-year-old son of the family imagines his father’s country as one of beauty and fairytales, but as they make their way to the land of their exile, the family realizes that any efforts to make this place a home will be in vain. Confronted by misery, hunger, and hostility, the young boy refuses to learn Slovenian and falls silent, his surroundings becoming a social, cultural, and mental abyss.
Narrated by the boy with uncanny naiveté, the novel follows his family’s journey in a fragmented mosaic of memories. Some are innocent and tender, while others are miserable and ruthless, resulting in a profound and heart-wrenching description of a period torn apart by conflict, reflected in the author’s powerful and innovative command of language.